Referral to Emergency Duty Team


This document is the Children and Adults Services' Emergency Duty Team Operational Handbook.

It contains information on the role of the Emergency Duty Team (EDT); the procedures for EDT staff and the arrangements between the EDT and day services in both Children's and Adults Divisions.


The list below is an example of the legislation that governs the work undertaken by EDT, it is not exhaustive:

  • Children Act 1989;
  • Policing and Crime Act 2017
  • The Children Act 2004;
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children;
  • DH Assessment Framework;
  • National Assistance Act 1948;
  • Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970;
  • NHS and Community Care Act, 1990;
  • Direct Payments Act 1996;
  • Delayed Discharges Act 2003;
  • Carers and Disabled Children Act 2004;
  • Mental Health Act 1983;
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005;
  • Mental Health Act 2007;
  • The Care Act 2014;
  • The Children and Families Act 2014.


Wirral Department of Adult Social Services Procedures

Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health Procedures


This chapter was updated in September 2023.

1. Introduction

1.1 Statement of Purpose of the Emergency Duty Team (EDT)

The principal responsibility of the EDT is to respond to out of hours referrals where intervention from the local authority is required to safeguard a vulnerable child or adult, and where it would not be safe, appropriate or lawful to delay that intervention to the next working day.

The EDT may also deal with referrals, which are not assessed as emergencies but where delay before intervention by day staff could cause deterioration in the welfare or safety of the subject of the referral.

The EDT is not intended to provide the same level of service that is available during normal office hours. It does not have the resources to do so, either in terms of staff or access to information and support from partner agencies.

1.2 Service Objectives

EDT will:

  1. Respond to out-of-hours referrals where it is judged that intervention is necessary to safeguard a vulnerable child or adult, and where it is judged it would not be safe, appropriate or lawful to delay that intervention until the next working day;
  2. Manage referrals, which are not assessed as emergencies but where delay before intervention by day staff would be likely to cause deterioration in the welfare or safety of the subject of the referral;
  3. Fulfil statutory requirements and all Wirral Council policies and procedures when responding to referrals;
  4. Deal with referrals in order of priority and with regard to the possible consequences of delay;
  5. Ensure that referring agencies and individuals are kept fully informed as to Children and Adults Services responses and advised where there is unavoidable delay in dealing with referrals;
  6. Act in compliance with statutory requirements and all Wirral Council policies and procedures in delivering a timely response to referrals made outside of office hours;
  7. Deploy internal Children and Adults Services resources and acquire resources from other service providers as necessary and appropriate to meet assessed needs;
  8. Ensure that referring agencies and individuals are kept informed where there is unavoidable delay in dealing with referrals;
  9. Maintain sufficient knowledge of local authority and other services to be able to screen and re-direct referrals which are not appropriate for the EDT to respond to;
  10. Seek to foster good working relationships with all other out-of-hours agencies;
  11. Foster stronger links and communication with children and adult day time services;
  12. Ensure there are clearly defined pathways and effective working relationships with day services;
  13. Negotiate clear responsibility for cases involving other local authorities, ensuring that Wirral Council responsibilities are always fully discharged, whether by the EDT or another Local Authority;
  14. Provide a service, which positively reflects Wirral Council policies on equality and diversity, ensuring that services take account of issues of ethnicity, race, culture, disability, religion, sexuality and gender;
  15. Ensure that all referrals made and work carried out is clearly and fully recorded in line with Wirral Council requirements, and so as to enable day staff to progress work promptly and effectively;
  16. Ensure that, where appropriate, senior officers are informed of referrals;
  17. Represent Children and Adults Services positively to all other agencies and organisations, using delegated authority appropriately.

1.3 Service Standards

EDT will meet the following service standards in line with guidance issued by the regulatory Authority:

  1. Service users will receive a prompt and effective out of hours response, which meet the need referred and is sufficient to support service users until mainstream services can be provided, if necessary;
  2. The Children and Adults Departments will maintain a clearly written, up-to-date and comprehensive policy for securing emergency out of hours services;
  3. The Children and Adults Departments will work collaboratively with other agencies, and Departments, to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the provision of emergency out of hours services;
  4. All Out of hours work and assessments will be screened and assessed to determine the service required from EDT, which will then be passed promptly to Children and Adults Social Care in Liquid Logic (LL);
  5. Emergency out of hour's services will be sensitive to issues of race, religion, language, culture, gender and disability;
  6. EDT Managers will provide a management oversight at all handover points during the shift and will ensure that staff have the appropriate skills to undertake the complex work out of hours;
  7. The Children and Adults Departments will provide an organisational structure and management support to ensure the delivery of effective emergency out of hour's services.

2. Relationship with Day Services

2.1 Working Arrangements between EDT and Day Staff

The EDT Team Manager will have a particular responsibility for ensuring that there are good operational links between EDT and day services, across Adult and Children's social care, Health colleagues, Police and all partner agencies.

2.2 Responsibility for Referrals

EDT is only responsible for dealing with referrals, which are initially made outside office hours. Day staff should complete all work where the initial referral was made before 17.00hrs.

Where day staff considers that they are unable to complete a piece of work, EDT may exceptionally accept a handover from day services, a clear management plan will be jointly agreed. However, it is essential for day staff to speak directly to the EDT Manager on duty to negotiate this. Day staff must therefore leave a telephone number on which they can be contacted after 17.00hrs.

It is not acceptable for day staff to leave a message asking for the EDT to complete a piece of work. If the day staff cannot speak to the EDT Manager or Social Worker or Operational Lead then it must be assumed that the work will not be undertaken by the EDT.

It is part of the role of the EDT to help and support day staff that are working outside normal hours. Any colleague working after normal hours can contact EDT for advice, information, resources or assistance.

2.3 Criteria for Referral to EDT

EDT is principally responsible for providing an emergency service in situations where there is real and immediate threat to life, safety, health or liberty. Additionally, EDT will seek to provide a service where delay could cause deterioration in the welfare or safety of the subject of the referral.

It is therefore not appropriate to make referrals to EDT for routine monitoring of service users or carers out of hours. EDT cannot guarantee to be available for this purpose, which must be covered in general care planning for a case.

As outlined above, it will be unusual for day staff to make a referral for action, as the expectation is that when day staff do need to make a referral, the worker should ring the EDT contact number, email at requesting a consultation. (There is a referral form, there must also be a discussion and jointly agree plan for management overnight).

2.4 "Alerts" for EDT from Day Staff

There will be occasions when day staff need to alert EDT to referrals which may arise, giving background information and indicating a course of action which they would like EDT staff to take. Contact details for an appropriate officer should normally be included. These "alerts" should be completed online and emailed to:

The EDT duty officer will check the mailbox at the beginning of each shift.

2.5 Communication of EDT Referrals to Day Staff

At the end of each EDT duty period it is the responsibility of the EDT Social Worker and EDT Manager who have dealt with a referral to ensure that safe and accurate transfer to the relevant day service and to forward this by Liquid Logic, EDT will also contact IFD and Duty AMHP manager to discuss the handover to day services.

Where urgent follow-up is required of day staff, the EDT officer may in some circumstances ring the appropriate duty team to confirm actions required.

Queries about previous work can be dealt with by the EDT team managers who are in the office during day time hours from 08:00 to 13:00 and 16:30 to 20:00 hours, or by e-mail.

3. EDT Resources and Organisation

3.1 Staffing

The EDT consists of 2 Team Managers and 9 established posts, 4 Social Care Advisors and 1 Team Support Officer.

EDT sessional workers may be utilised at various periods due to capacity and demand of work and referrals.  They will be governed by the same procedures as the established posts.

3.2 Rota

The EDT Team Manager is responsible for the management of the EDT rota.

The EDT service is operational between 5pm and 9am Monday to Friday, and at weekends from Friday at 5pm through to 9am on Monday. The service is extended to cover Bank Holidays and other public holidays.

Shifts are organised so that two social workers are on duty all the time. EDT Social Workers are experienced in child protection/safeguarding/and have an AMHP qualification. The minimum operational requirement is that each of the two officers will have one of the above requirements.

There is an equivalent rota of senior managers in Children and Adult Social Care, who are available for advice and guidance.

3.3 Sickness

Where a social worker is unable to start or complete a shift because of illness, they must advise the EDT Team Managers by 10am, who is responsible for arranging duty cover.

3.4 Working Arrangements

The EDT service is staffed by two social workers on duty. They are supported by one Social Care advisor who will take initial call and place in the EDT tray for the EDT Manager and Social Worker to review and prioritise, and plan an appropriate response to the presenting needs. EDT are also supported by the Emergency Control Room who will take messages for EDT, when SCA and Social Workers are engaged and pass these via email directly to EDT.

The EDT Managers and Social Workers receiving the calls will gather information to inform next steps planning an immediate response risk assessing and prioritising calls. EDT Managers and workers can access advice from the on-call managers from CSC and ASC and have access to 24 hour legal advice.

3.5 Management Cover

EDT Managers are on duty at the point of all EDT handovers to ensure that the management overview and jointly agreed plans are recorded on cases being passed across to EDT. A rota of senior managers ensures that advice and assistance is available to EDT officers at all times.

3.6 Supervision, Appraisals, Quality Assurance and Training

The EDT Team Manager will be responsible for the individual supervision and appraisals of EDT Social Workers, SCA and BSO in line with Wirral standard procedures, requirements and expectations. Training and development plans for each officer will be agreed through these processes, always ensuring as a priority that staff are adequately equipped, qualified and supported to carry out emergency duties across all service user groups.

EDT workers have capacity hours built into their hours to ensure that they can attend the 18 hour mandatory AMHP maintaining competence training, ongoing training, briefings and reflective supervision sessions.

The EDT Quality Assurance Framework is currently being reviewed in line with the Live QA Framework transitioning from themed audit cycles.

3.7 Team Meetings

The EDT Team Managers will facilitate weekly 1 hour meetings for the whole team to attend via Microsoft Teams; updating on practice issues staffing, training and general wellbeing.

3.8 Quality Assurance

The EDT Team Manager will be responsible for developing and implementing a range of measures which ensure that the quality of the service provided by the EDT is of a high standard, and is routinely monitored. These measures will include the routine collection and analysis of agreed management information, and regular audits of individual cases. There are a number of joint forums attended by the Team Manager which provide feedback about EDT performance.

The EDT Quality Assurance Framework is currently being reviewed in line with the Live QA Framework transitioning from themed audit cycles.